Jun 27 2007

New York Times Editorial says Graham Amendment Creates ‘Gitmos Across America’ to Hold Illegal Immigrants

One of the worst amendments comes from Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina. It would impose mandatory detention of all people who overstay their visas.  …The cells would be full of people who shouldn’t be there: asylum seekers, the elderly, pregnant women, the sick and those ensnared in paperwork mistakes. Children, like the kindergartners in inmate scrubs walking the halls of a federal detention center outside Austin, Tex. Day laborers, like those in suburban Brewster, N.Y., whose arrests were hailed by a mayor who spoke proudly of his community’s “zero tolerance” for people unlawfully playing soccer in a schoolyard.  The country already detains some 230,000 immigrants a year, at an annual cost of $1.2 billion. Under the current immigration bill, it would build tens of thousands more beds to hold detainees. And it would need many more — Guantánamo Bays across America — if Mr. Graham’s zero-tolerance vision is fully realized. 

Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce Supports Immigration Reform

“Immigration reform is a federal issue and we support efforts to achieve a national solution to this challenge to support a uniform approach We oppose any local approach to regulating immigration on the basis that regulation must be consistent from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  We need immigration laws that are fair and balanced These laws must meet the needs of our growing economy and the test of common sense.  Only through this kind of comprehensive approach can an effective solution be reached.  Securing the national borders is important, but it cannot be accomplished in isolation.”

Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce Supports Immigration Reform

The current system is clearly broken and we believe the status quo is unacceptable Municipalities and counties throughout South Carolina, as well as our state government, are reacting to a lack of action at the federal level with a patchwork of immigration laws and enforcement.  We fear that local mandates and piecemeal approaches will be unnecessarily costly and expose law-abiding employers to unfair liability This would ultimately undermine our economic strength and negatively impact our station and our nation.”

Charleston Post & Courier Editorial ‘Revive Immigration Reform’

“The Senate shouldn't heed ill-informed foes of the immigration bill, but rather the general public's agreement on realistic reform. The bill's foes should abandon legislative obstructionism and offer practical counter-proposals.  Otherwise, we'll again be stuck with the illegal-immigration status quo, a de facto "amnesty.”

Washington Times ‘Labor Groups, Hispanics hit Senate bill’

“Labor and Hispanic groups yesterday told senators to scrap their immigration bill and go back to the drawing board, saying that the proposal now before the Senate has become too harsh on illegal aliens and a poor deal for U.S. workers.

Washington Times Says New Study Shows Senate Bill Breaking Chain Migration

 “…a new evaluation released by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) yesterday found that the Senate bill would reduce family-based immigration from about two-thirds of current permanent visas to less than half. Employment-based visas would go from less than one-fifth to about two-fifths.  The MPI evaluation said the new point system called for in the bill would also shift the profile of new legal immigrants away from Latin American and Caribbean countries and toward Asian countries, particularly India, China and the Philippines, where recent immigrants have had better English skills and higher educational attainment.”

Fox News Channel Brit Hume on Fox News Sunday

What strikes me about this argument that's made by the opponents of the bill is that they can't really dispute that there's a lot of good stuff in here and strong stuff on border enforcement.  And what they say, when you cite that to them, is they say, "Well, we don't believe them," which is the point Charles [Krauthammer] is making. "We don't believe it."  On the other hand, I wonder if you put the question to them, if this was only border enforcement stuff, would you be for passing that and spending $4.4 billion, and how many more billions of dollars that it might cost to do it -- I assume the answer would be yes, to which my question would be, "Well, why would you be for that if you don't believe it?"

U.S. Chamber Of Commerce, National Restaurant Association, Business Roundtable, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), And National Federation Of Independent Business (NFIB)

"As trade associations representing the full spectrum of the American economy, we applaud the hard work of a bipartisan team of senators and the Administration for their role in crafting S.1348. We realize that many difficult issues will remain, but it is critical that the process moves forward.”

American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman on the Immigration Bill

Farmers need a comprehensive immigration reform bill approved this Congress. ... We have been pushing for a solution for years and we simply cannot wait any longer for Congress to address this issue.” 

 

Jun 26 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the procedural motion to move the Senate immigration bill debate forward.  Graham voted in support of the motion which passed 64-35.

 

 

“The Senate must move forward in fixing our broken immigration system.  It’s a national disgrace to allow the current chaos to continue.  While the reform legislation is not perfect, it is a substantial improvement over current law. 

 

 

“The legislation immediately makes available $4.4 billion in mandatory spending to secure our nation’s borders.  Funds will be spent on miles of new fencing, miles of new vehicle barriers, surveillance towers, detention beds, the Electronic Employee Verification System (EEVS), and other enforcement programs.  The legislation also reclaims control of our nation's borders by adding thousands of new Border Patrol agents. 

 

 

“Right now, there are more than 1,100 proposed state laws and countless other proposed laws at the city and county level dealing with illegal immigration.  If Congress does not act this year, local and state governments will fill the vacuum and pass a hodge-podge of laws which will be nearly-impossible to comply with. 

 

 

“Constructive criticism has led to many improvements in the original legislation.  I expect more amendments may be adopted during the next few days of debate. 

 

 

“People are skeptical -- and with good reason -- but we cannot allow this skepticism lead to inaction.  If we do not address immigration reform now the problem will only get worse – not better.”

 

 

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Jun 26 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today released a June 19 letter from the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce expressing support for comprehensive immigration reform.

“The current system is clearly broken and we believe the status quo is unacceptable,” wrote Brad Dean, President and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.  “Municipalities and counties throughout South Carolina, as well as our state government, are reacting to a lack of action at the federal level with a patchwork of immigration laws and enforcement.  

“We fear that local mandates and piecemeal approaches will be unnecessarily costly and expose law-abiding employers to unfair liability,” said Dean.  “This would ultimately undermine our economic strength and negatively impact our station and our nation.”

The Chamber encouraged Senator Graham to continue working on immigration reform to ensure the final legislation contains stronger border security, a way to recruit future workers through the H2B visa program, a workable employment verification system that will be usable by small businesses, and a measure to ensure current undocumented, law-abiding workers whose skills and employability are necessary to be eligible for legal status.
 
“The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber and its members realize that many difficult issues remain; however it is critical that the process moves forward,” concluded Dean.  “We support your efforts and urge you to continue to work with the business community as legislation proceeds through the amendment process.”

“I appreciate the Myrtle Beach Chamber for taking a stand on this important issue for the future of our state and nation,” said Graham.  “I understand no two people or organizations will agree on every provision in a major piece of legislation such as this.  We cannot hope and wait for the perfect solution to suddenly come forward because with the passage of time this problem only gets worse, not better.
 
“Much is at stake for the Senate and the nation as we resume debate on immigration reform,” continued Graham.  “We have a chance to prove that we still have the ability to solve hard problems or we can choose to reinforce growing skepticism about our government and fall further in the eyes of the American people.”

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Jun 26 2007

TOUCHBACK’ Z-VISA APPLICANTS MUST LEAVE THE UNITED STATES TO BECOME A Z-VISA HOLDER

The legislation has been criticized for allowing z-visa applicants to stay in the United States indefinitely in z-visa status.  Others have claimed said z-visa holders will never have to leave the United States.  

  • The illegal alien head of household – currently residing in the United States -- will have to leave our country within 3 years and return to their home country.

  • Once in their home country, they can complete their z-visa application. 

  • After 3 years, if the illegal alien has not 1) left the United States, 2) returned to their home country, 3) submitted the appropriate paperwork from their home country, then their probationary status will be revoked.  They will be deported along with their spouse and any non-American citizen children.

 

VISA OVERSTAYS

Approximately 40 percent of the illegal aliens in the United States today did not come across our nation’s southern border.  They came to the United States legally on visas and simply refused to leave the when their visa expired.  The Graham-Kyl-Martinez amendment builds upon a provision already in the bill requiring mandatory jail time of at least 60 days to a maximum of 1 year in jail for aliens who illegally reenter the United States after being deported.

Graham-Kyl-Martinez would:

  • PERMANENTLY bar from the United States any alien who overstays their visa.

  • Aliens who overstay their visa by more than 60 days will be apprehended, detained, and deported.

  • Establishes and deploys a biometric tracking system that records the entry and exit of all temporary workers and visiting family members to ensure we have a record of who overstayed a visa.   

  • If the alien refuses to depart in a timely manner, DHS will – within 48 hours – enter the alien’s name in a database of overstays accessible for local, state, and immigration law enforcement officials.

  • Authorizes an increase of 6,250 Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel hired to carry out the removal of illegal aliens, to investigate immigration fraud, and to enforce illegal hiring at the workplace.

 

24 HOUR BACKGROUND CHECKS

The bill has been criticized for allowing probationary status to be granted to z-visa applicants 24 hours after they file an application, even if the alien has not yet passed all appropriate background checks.  The Graham-Kyl-Martinez amendment addresses those concerns.

  • Ensures probationary status will only be granted after passing all appropriate background checks regardless of how long it takes for DHS to complete them.

  • Z-visa applicants can pre-register online with DHS to speed their application and to make appointments for getting their fingerprints taken. 

 

GANG MEMBERS NEED NOT APPLY FOR A Z-VISA

Critics have said illegal alien gang members will be allowed to receive legal status under the legislation.

  • Graham-Kyl-Martinez makes it clear that gang members – even those who have renounced their gang ‘membership’ – are ineligible for the z-visa program.

 

CHILD MOLESTORS NEED NOT APPLY FOR A Z-VISA

Critics have said some child molesters will be allowed to receive legal status under the legislation.

  • Graham-Kyl-Martinez makes clear that illegal aliens convicted of sexual abuse on a minor are ineligible regardless of when the offense occurred.

 

ADDRESSES VISA OVERSTAYS USING THE ‘PARENT’ VISA

Critics of the legislation have criticized the new ‘parent’ visa which allows parents of American citizens and the spouses and children of temporary workers to visit a worker in the United States.

  • Graham-Kyl-Martinez raises the bond for visiting family members from $1,000 to $2,500 to help ensure they depart when their visa is up.

  • Overstay provisions described above apply to the ‘parent’ visa holders.

 

ILLEGAL ALIEN DRUNK DRIVERS FACE HARSHER STANDARDS

  • Illegal aliens who have 2 state or federal convictions or 1 felony conviction for drunk driving will not be allowed to gain legal status.

 

Jun 26 2007

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College and the Orangeburg-Calhoun Area Technical Education Commission will receive a $1.5 million grant for the construction of the Transportation Workforce Training Center.

“A well-educated, well-trained workforce is a key component to future economic development,” said Graham.  “South Carolina’s technical colleges are continuing to play a leading role in ensuring our state’s workforce is ready and capable of meeting the challenges of the 21st Century economy.  This grant is great news for the local community and an important investment in the future of Orangeburg and Calhoun counties.”

The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that the project will create 544 jobs and generate $420 million in private investment.

The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.

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Jun 26 2007

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the South Carolina Department of Public Safety will receive a $5,350,000 grant to enhance crime victim services in the state.

The funds will be competitively awarded by the state to local community-based organizations that provide direct services to crime victims.

The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Jun 26 2007

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced South Carolina’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will receive $14.7 million in grants for institutional aid.  The funds can be used to strengthen academic resources, financial management, endowments, and physical plants.

Award recipients include:

Allen University- $1,068,878

Benedict College- $2,604,848

Claflin University- $1,956,641

Clinton Junior College- $500,000

Denmark Technical College- $2,075,869

Morris College- $1,600,029

South Carolina State University- $3,297,873

Voorhees College- $1,694,171

The grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Education.

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Jun 25 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today released a June 20 letter from Charles H. Van Rysselberge, the President and CEO of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce expressing their support for the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill.
 
“Immigration reform is a federal issue and we support efforts to achieve a national solution to this challenge to support a uniform approach,” wrote Van Rysselberge.  “We oppose any local approach to regulating immigration on the basis that regulation must be consistent from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

“We need immigration laws that are fair and balanced,” continued Van Rysselberge.  “These laws must meet the needs of our growing economy and the test of common sense.  Only through this kind of comprehensive approach can an effective solution be reached.  Securing the national borders is important, but it cannot be accomplished in isolation.”

“I appreciate the Charleston Metro Chamber for taking a stand on this important issue for the future of our state and nation,” said Graham.  “Much is at stake for the Senate and the nation as we resume debate on immigration reform.  We have a chance to prove that we still have the ability to solve hard problems or we can choose to reinforce growing skepticism about our government and fall further in the eyes of the American people.”

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Jun 22 2007

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the Senate unanimously passed a resolution honoring the nine Charleston firefighters killed in the line of duty Monday evening.

 

Graham introduced the resolution along with Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) and others.

 

“All South Carolinians are indebted to these brave men who gave their lives to protect others,” said Graham.  “Today we honor the commitment and sacrifice of these men and all firefighters throughout the country.  I thank my colleagues for joining together to honor these American heroes and extend our deepest sympathies to their families.”   

 

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Jun 20 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the current situation involving the office of South Carolina Treasurer.

“Governor Sanford chose wisely in picking Ken Wingate to serve as our state’s interim Treasurer.  Ken is a good man and I know he will do a fine job for the people of South Carolina.

“I have great respect and admiration for the Ravenel family.  I know this is a traumatic event.  Like any other citizen, Thomas Ravenel should be presumed to be innocent.  The government has the burden of proving the charges against him.  I have confidence the legal system will fairly deal with the accusations.”

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